Examining the role of teacher presence and scaffolding in preschoolers’ peer interactions

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Acar I. H., Hong S., Wu C.

European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, vol.25, no.6, pp.866-884, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1350293x.2017.1380884
  • Journal Name: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.866-884
  • Keywords: Preschool children, peer interactions, teacher scaffolding, teacher presence, classroom contexts
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The current study aimed to examine the associations between teacher presence and social scaffolding and preschool children’s peer interactions. Using a time sampling method, peer interactions of 22 four- and five-year-old preschoolers (12 girls; Mage = 52.95 months) and teacher behavior were observed on two different days during various classroom activities in seven public preschool classrooms. Eco-behavioral analyses revealed that (a) teacher presence was negatively associated with positive peer interactions; (b) teacher absence was positively associated with negative peer interactions; (c) positive change of peer interactions was more likely to occur when the teacher was present; (d) children showed more positive peer interactions during child-directed activities than during adult-directed activities or daily routines and transitions; and (e) teacher’s social scaffolding was positively associated with children’s positive peer interactions although it occurred only for 3.61% of the intervals during which the teacher was in close proximity to children. In addition, although the likelihood for children’s positive interaction was over 2 times higher in child-directed activities in comparison to adult-directed activities, teacher presence still seems very important for inhibiting negative peer interactions.